Professional News

Biosystems and Ag Engineering's Pekarchik in Germany for Fulbright Program

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Oct. 9, 2015) — University of Kentucky Extension Associate Senior Karin Pekarchik will be in Germany for the next several weeks as part of the Fulbright International Education Administrators (IEA) program. This competitive program brings education administrators from the U.S. to Germany to learn about the German higher education system.

Pekarchik has been heavily involved with the development of a new academic program, Technical Systems Management (TSM), within the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (BAE), part of UK's College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

"TSM very loosely mimics the German dual education system by requiring work-based learning, a form of internship or co-operative education, as part of the curriculum," said Pekarchik. "This is why I am so delighted to have this Fulbright opportunity."

The Technical Systems Management minor currently is under review by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. At this time, the academic program is administered as an individualized program in agriculture (IPA) by the college.

Pekarchik will be in Berlin for the first week, then Cologne and Frankfurt during the second week, which also includes a visit across the border to the French city of Strasbourg.

"The itinerary is packed with presentations, receptions, and dinners, designed to introduce participants to Germany’s educational system, as well as its vibrant culture and society. I’m really looking forward to the hustle and bustle and exciting energy of being in a major city," Pekarchik said.

Pekarchik is committed to bringing back what she learns to help improve the TSM program.

"I am eager to see how a similar system of hands-on learning could be a model for BAE’s rigorous technical program. This Fulbright seminar will provide valuable contacts and potential collaborations for future research and/or doctoral studies in the area of agricultural education."

In addition to the two-week Fulbright experience, Pekarchik, through a UK eLearning Innovation Initiative (eLLI) grant, will extend her stay in order to make additional connections with German educators.

"We will discuss different strategies for knowledge transfer, pedagogy, and instructional design, which will give me more of an international perspective," Pekarchik said

And, this exciting journey continues to expand in new ways for Pekarchik. She recently

received official notification that she has received an Education Abroad UK Sponsored Program Development Grant from the Education Abroad Committee of the International Advisory Council.

"Assistant Professor Joe Dvorak, Ph.D., P.E., and I will be teaching an education abroad program in Germany in 2017, so this trip will be the first step of what we anticipate will be a rewarding academic journey."



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